Cecil Williams Will Keep Orlando, the Guide Dog Who Helped Him Survive Subway Fall

The indiegogo funding page
Cecil Williams was standing on a subway platform at 125th Street in Manhattan on Tuesday when he lost consciousness and fell onto the tracks, taking his seeing-eye dog, Orlando, with him.

"He was trying to pull me back, but when you have a dog in a harness, I guess, I fell over and he fell over with me," Williams said at a press conference Wednesday. "He stayed down there with me. He was licking my face and was doing some things, but he was there for me."

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Street Kids: Groups Want to Make NYC Roads Child Safe

Remember, back in the day, when you used to go outside and scamper around the streets of New York with all the other rosy-cheeked neighborhood kids, playing stickball and tag and hopscotch as the summer sun sank gently into the horizon?

No? Well, not to worry, Runnin' Scared doesn't either -- and we can't really imagine New York being the kind of place where youngins would want to play outside, considering that NYC traffic puts speed over pedestrian safety. (It's even worse if you're a child from a lower-income household: Studies show that vehicle crashes disproportionately affect youth from poor areas.)

But a coalition of New Yorkers wants to change this.

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Incredibly Cute 'I Heart M15' Project Gives Seat Cushions to Harried Bus Drivers

I Heart M15 from Paddle Productions on Vimeo.

This adorable video (h/t: Gothamist) shows SVA MFA design students Lizzy Showman and Kathleen Fitzgerald passing out customized bus seat cushions to surprised bus drivers on the M15 line in mid-November. This was part of a course called "Can Design Touch Someone's Heart," taught by Stefan Sagmeister. The gifting of the cushions, shown in the video above, is pretty touching. Showman and Fitzgerald told us, "A majority [of drivers] said they'd been doing this for 20 or 30 years, and it's taken this long for someone to say thank you."

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Valery Jean, Executive Director of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, on FUREE's 10th Anniversary Party

Caleb Ferguson
It's the holidays and time for nightly benefit parties. This month, we're be circling back to non-profits and art groups we've talked to through out 2011 as they gear up for their annual shindigs.

Today we're talking to Valery Jean, Executive Director of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE). FUREE (whom we've interacted with several times this year, including during our coverage of Mary Lee Ward's foreclosure) is celebrating 10 years of stirring up trouble in Brooklyn on behalf of poor and working class New Yorkers trying to hold on. We chatted with Jean (who was on Tom Robbins's "Thanksgiving Honor Roll" last year) about FUREE's origins, the challenges of development in Brooklyn, Occupy Wall Street, her take is on Governor Cuomo's recent budget, and their big bash tonight at La Vie Lounge & Restaurant.

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Novembeards and Movembers: A November Series on Facial Hair

No Shave Novembeard is upon us! Soon, the streets of New York will be filled with dudes growing out their stubble not just to look like attractive lumberjacks, but rather, to celebrate puns. There are also those growing moustaches for a cause: participants in Movember nobly grow moustaches to raise money for men's health causes. Each week, we plan on checking in with various New York guys to see how their beards and/or moustaches are faring. We kicked off our hairy series Tuesday night at men's online retailer Park and Bond's Movember party at barbershop/bar the Blind Barber. Several of Park and Bond's bearded employees got shaved to prep for their November moustaches. We checked in to see how their facial hair was faring.

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Movember: Shave Off Your Moustache (and Grow It Back) for Men's Health, Amusement

Today is November 1, which makes it the start of an annual movement in which men grow mustaches to help raise both money and awareness for men's health issues, a/k/a, Movember. "Mo" is slang for mustache in Australia, where the movement began when a small group of guys competed in a mustache challenge in 2003. In 2007, Movember came stateside with a dedicated full-time staff working year-round on the effort, and in 2010, 450,000 global participants raised $81 million for men's health causes by way of shaving, and then growing out, their facial hair for the month of November. On the kickoff of 2011's mustache-growing season, we talked to Donny Killian, Movember's U.S. country manager -- "a very proud 4-year Mo Bro" who shaved at one minute after midnight last night and again this morning. "It's been about 4 months since I've been clean-shaven," he told us.

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Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the Anti-Violence Project, Named "Champion of Change" by the White House (Q&A)

Sharon Stapl2.jpg
Sharon Stapel, the Executive Director of the New York Anti-Violence Project, was named a "Champion of Change" for her work with domestic violence in the LGBT community, the White House announced yesterday.

"[I]n honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Valerie Jarrett will join White House Advisor on Domestic Violence, Lynn Rosenthal, to host 14 leaders at the White House who are dedicating their professional lives to ending domestic violence in their communities," the Obama administration's press release read. In doing so, the "White House welcomes Sharon Stapel to participate in a roundtable discussion to raise awareness for domestic violence."

We've been engaged in an ongoing, running conversation with Stapel over the past couple of years about LGBT domestic violence, and this invitation is significant for a couple of reasons.

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Golfer Wins His Weight in Ham After Hitting Hole-in-One

There are good days, there are great days, and then there are days like the one Scottish golfer Elliot Saltman had Friday at the Bankia Madrid Masters tournament in Spain. Saltman drained a hole-in-one on the 204-yard third hole and won the glorious prize--his own body weight in ham. That's 238 pounds of cured and salted pork product to call his own. Other holes at the tournament yield a car or a watch to any golfer who sinks their tee shot, but Elliot Saltman hit the jackpot by doing so on the third hole. After winning the sporting world's single most cherished prize, Saltman said, "I've been trying to lose weight, but now I'm thinking I should have just kept it."

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Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Three Women

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to three women: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni rights campaigner Tawakkul Karman. They're being recognized "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work." The New York Times points out that the three are the first women to win the prize since Kenya's Wangari Maathai, named as the laureate in 2004 (she died last month).

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Guiding Proud Launches New York's First Mentoring Program for LGBT Kids

Steven Thrasher
Guiding Proud founder Natasha Dillon with Sen. Tom Duane
When activist Natasha Dillon realized a year ago that New York did not have any kind of mentoring program for the city's queer youth, she decided to do something about. Tonight, LGBT youth and mentors will meet each other at the first meeting of Guiding Proud, the organization which has paired them up in a kind of queer version of Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

We talked to Dillon, an award winning activist we closely followed over the past year in her successful fight for marriage equality, about her new endeavor.

Why did you think it was important to have an LGBT specific mentoring program?

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